Well, last week I put the kayaks away and got all of the stuff for them packed up and stored in the spare office in the basement. I figured that I wasn't going to get much of a chance to paddle again this year, and this week pretty much put any question of that to rest.
As I speak, it's exactly 30 degrees outside and dropping. There's supposed to be snow sometime in the next 15 or so days.
I guess it's alright that I got them put away. Cathy's Bali is still inflated. I will get it deflated and folded up sometime in the next day or so. I had left it inflated to make sure the skeg attachment fit onto it correctly.
I've still been thinking about possible kayak trips for next year, and I've got a few good ones in mind. I'm also still planning on getting that Sea Eagle directional stabilizer (skeg) to fit onto my TK-1 for next spring. I think that will help me enjoy the TK-1 just a little more than I already do, and the nice thing about that skeg is it's easy to remove if I decide that it's making me learn bad paddling habits.
I've also pretty much decided that IF I upgrade to a different kayak next year, I will be looking at the Sea Eagle lineup. I've contacted their customer service about the skeg and they were more than helpful, even after learning that I didn't own a Sea Eagle boat. The customer service, the packages, and the 3 year warranty really attract me to their products. That, and they seem to be a natural next step for me from the TK-1, as their boats seem to be almost the exact same design as the TK-1, albeit longer...and because of that they'll be faster and track straighter, not to mention they'll hold more weight. The only question I have at this point is whether I should go with the Sea Eagle 340X or the Sea Eagle 380X.
The 340X is 11'1" long and supports up to 600 pounds. It weighs 42 pounds.
The 380X is 12'6" long and supports up to 750 pounds. It weighs 47 pounds.
Compare both of these to my current TK-1.
The TK-1 is 9'9" long and supports up to 300 pounds. It weighs 30 pounds.
So the 340X is 1'4" longer than my TK-1, supports twice the weight, and weighs 12 pounds more. That weight alone makes me think the Sea Eagle boat must be made out of a bit more heavy duty materials.
The 380X is 2'9" longer than my TK-1, supports 2.5 times the weight, and weighs 17 pounds more.
The difference in price between the 340X and the 380X is only $50. So for that price difference I think I'd be better off with the 380X. It could hold me and all of the gear that I would ever possibly want it to hold. It would also track better and be faster than even the 340X. It also is at about the length that I've been told that inflatables are at their best. I have been told that 13' is the longest you'll want an inflatable to be...anything longer and they start to be difficult to paddle.
I guess the other reason to go with the 380X is because the 340X doesn't really seem like that huge of an upgrade over the TK-1. Although the TK-1 is rated at 300 pounds, I'm sure it could hold more, as it holds me (240 pounds) and my gear (10 pounds) with no issues at all and seems like it could easily hold at least 100 pounds more if I wanted it to.
But either way, the Sea Eagle boats are probably the way that I will go if I do in fact upgrade. But I'm thinking that with the skeg added to the TK-1, I won't have to worry about upgrading at all anytime soon!!! In fact, if the TK-1 works with the skeg, I'll probably order another one so that Cathy can have a little bit higher quality boat. I really hope she enjoys doing this as much as I do...